Missouri attorney general investigating Google

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The probe comes after European regulators investigated significant aspects of Google's business and as Washington is taking a harder look into the influence of dominant tech companies in American society.

"We are going to act to hold corporate giants accountable. for the good of the people of Missouri", Hawley said.

Google has already landed on the bad side of European Union antitrust regulators, receiving a €2.4B fine in June for shopping search practices and facing another fine over its AdSense network.

The Missouri attorney general's office is investigating whether Google has run afoul of consumer protection or antitrust laws in the state.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, who also is running for Democratic U.S. Sen. Google has challenged the decision in Europe, citing competitors like Amazon and eBay and arguing that its process doesn't favor "ourselves, or any particular site or seller" but rather is "the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback".

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Asked at the press conference whether his senate candidacy played a role in opening the Google inquiry, Hawley said he acted upon his oath of office and desire "to get to the truth". In Congress, however, the search giant and other dominant tech companies have come under increased criticism in recent months over a range of issues, from their failure to prevent Russian operatives from manipulating their platforms during the 2016 election to their sprawling size and industry-swallowing operations.

He noted that Google entered into an agreement with the FTC in 2012 in which it promised not to engage in misappropriation of competitors' websites data.

"Frankly, the FTC - the Obama-era FTC - did not take any enforcement actions against Google. and has essentially given them a free pass", he said.

A spokeswoman for Google declined to comment.

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